Search Results for Rome
Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy by William Shakespeare (1595-6).
Romeo and Juliet outlines the brief lives of two “star crossed lovers” who come from families, the Capulets and Montagues, that have been engaged in a longstanding feud.
In 1938 The Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev wrote a ballet after the story.
The theme of rival families is found throughout Greek and Indian mythology.
Rome is the vibrant capital of Italy which has a long and complicated history, dating back to the 8th century BCE.
Pre-Christian Rome fell in the 5th century to Germanic invaders. In the 6th century it became an important center for the Christian Church, with Vatican City on the West bank of the Tiber river.
In 1871 Rome became the capital of modern Italy.
When it was the center of the old Roman Empire, Rome was a symbol of worldly power and also of the cruel persecution of the early Christians. Ironically, the center for the persecution of Christians was to become the center for Christianity and later, as the Protestant revolution arose, for Catholicism.
The historian Arnold Toynbee and several others note that as soon as the Christian Romans gained power, they began persecuting individuals just as the pagan Romans had previously persecuted Christians.
Toynbee believes it was mostly power – and the greed and arrogance that often goes with it – that was responsible for this exceedingly cruel behavior among human beings.
Batman first appeared in American culture as a comic book hero in Detective Comics #27 of May 1939. His creators Bob Kane (artist) and Bill Finger (writer) depicted him as a “The Caped Crusader” and “The Dark Knight.” Batman comics were extremely successful and spawned several movies and a hit TV show from 1966-68.
The TV show’s humorous, tongue-in-cheek approach attracted actors like Shelly Winters and Cesar Romero, who played archetypal villains. The most memorable of the Batman villains are probably The Joker, The Riddler, The Penguin, Cat Woman and Mr. Freeze.
It’s been suggested that the relationship between Batman and Robin, the “Boy Wonder,” has homosexual overtones, especially in the TV show depiction.
Batman also appeared in an animated TV series from 1992-1995.
Batman movies began in 1943. The more recent Batman film productions have leaned toward the dark and gloomy instead of the comical. Some say this is more in keeping with Batman’s original character. The most recent film, Dark Knight Rises, however, seems a bit lighter in tone, with some comical moments found in scenes between Batman and Cat Woman.
- Batman’s mythology getting new boost from DC (seattletimes.com)
- Batman’s mythology getting new boost from DC (cnsnews.com)
- To Be The Batman (ninjaswordumbrella.wordpress.com)
- Batman’s mythology getting new boost from DC (metronews.ca)
- Spotlight on The Dark Knight: “The Smile on the Bat” (Graphic Novelties) (popmatters.com)
- A Letter To The Bruce Wayne Estate From His Progressive Agent (autoinsurancecenter.com)
- If Batman drove a Kia, it would look like this (reviews.cnet.com)
- Was Batman Gay? (neatorama.com)
- Always be Batman (adityaviyer.com)
- Batman’s villain admits cheque caper (bbc.co.uk)
In the ‘original’ (1978) and ‘reimagined’ (2003) versions of the science fiction film and TV program Battlestar Galactica, the Cylons are a mechanical race of beings created by mankind but which have turned on their creator.
In the reimagined TV series, the Cylons may look exactly like human beings. Not unlike the Hal 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Borg and The Matrix, Cylons symbolize the possibility of mankind becoming endangered by machines. And on the sociological level, Cylons could be taken to represent the very real issues of depersonalization, alienation and, as sociologist Max Weber put it, the bureaucratization and rationalization of human beings in contemporary society. Not only that. As the above poster suggests, Cylons could represent hostile spies in otherwise healthy societies.
The background story to the Cylons is pretty complicated. It’s actually quite amazing how thoroughly the Battlestar Galactica writers fleshed out – maybe not the best metaphor in this instance – their identity.¹
The word Cylon, itself, stems from an actual Athenian nobleman.
¹ Especially in the reimagined series: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cylon_%28reimagining%29
- [Books] Battlestar Galactica: The Cylon’s Secret (geeky-guide.com)
- WATCH THIS: “Battlestar Galactia: Blood & Chrome” (lezgetreal.com)
- BSG: Blood & Chrome (Ep. 9-10) (storiesbywilliams.com)
- ‘Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome’ Blu-ray Review: Prequel Mocks Pre-9/11 Mindset (breitbart.com)
- Roundtable Review: Battlestar Galactica, “The Long Patrol” (thiswastv.com)
- Intergalactic War-Porn: ‘Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome’ (Review) (popmatters.com)
- After Action Report: Battlestar Galactica RPG (blackcampbell.com)
- Luke Pasqualino and Ben Cotton Talk ‘Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome’ (advocate.com)
- Battlestar Galactica “Twelve Cylon Models Note” Original Backup BSG Prop (ephemera.typepad.com)
- Artificial Intelligence (unrealengine.com)
Cybele was a Mother Goddess with local manifestations in Asia Minor, Greece and Rome. Some scholars believe that she originated in Anatolia around 6000 BCE. She appears in literature and sculpture from about the 5th century BCE onward. She presides over the gods, humans and beasts.
The lion was her sacred symbol. In statues, reliefs and coins she’s often depicted seated on a throne with a lion on either side.
Sir William Smith in his Smaller Classical Dictionary says
The Corybantes were her enthusiastic priests, who with drums, cymbals, horns, and in full armour, performed their orgiastic dances. In Rome the Galli were her priests.¹
In Rome she was introduced as an official state religious figure and hence closely regulated and officiated by upper class priests.
Today, some people are drawn to her cult and, perhaps, numinous power – or what they believe is her numinous power. So her worship continues in the 21st century among New Age and neoPagan religious groups.²
¹ Sir William Smith, Smaller Classical Dictionary [revised by E. H. Blakeny and JohnWarrington], New York: Dutton, 1958.
Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BCE) was an outstanding Roman orator, statesman and scholar born in Latium.
He was elected consul in 63 BCE. He managed to abort a revolutionary plot but executed some Roman conspirators without trial, which countered Roman law.
To avoid charges he flew into exile to Thessalonica (58 BCE). A year later he was recalled by the citizens of Rome but lost support from both Caesar’s and Pompey’s followers after trying to appease both.
Retiring in Rome in (46-44 BCE), he wrote on rhetoric and philosophy. Following the murder of Julius Caesar in the Ides of March, he gave speeches against Antony (43 BCE). Antony’s military assassinated him in response.
His most accessible and, perhaps, popular work for modern readers is De natura deorum (On The Nature of the Gods), in which he discusses the opinions of different philosophers concerning various pagan divinities. But many more down-to-earth works survive, such as his defending falsely accused citizens whose accusers are bribed into giving false witness.
- Some Information on Marcus Tullius Cicero (utahpeoplesparty.wordpress.com)
- The Political Handbook by Quintus Tullius Cicero (Translated) (thewesternexperience.com)
- Uncurrent Events 12/07 (newyorkharold.wordpress.com)
- Thought for the Day – November 25th (homeroomteacher.wordpress.com)
- Cicero on Treason (thesquirrelsnestblog.wordpress.com)
- Medicine for the Soul (dhcave.wordpress.com)
Church Fathers is the title usually given to those regarded as the brightest theological lights in the early Christian Church.
Influential and usually learned Christian thinkers contributing to the formation of Church dogma, aspects of their writings are often cited as supportive “truths” within the contemporary Roman Catholic Catechism.
The Church Fathers are considered exemplars of holiness and are usually, but not always, canonized. Tertullian (160–225) is a good example of a leading Christian who was never canonized.¹
The study of the Fathers’ writings is known as Patristics, although the Church Fathers fall into two periods, the Apostolic and the Patristic.
Since the 17th-century the Apostolic Fathers have been designated as those who wrote just after the New Testament period, to include Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Hermas, Polycarp and Papias. This list also includes the anonymous writers of the Epistle of Barnabas, the Epistle to Diognetus, Clement and the Didache.
The well-known theologian Origen (184–254) was too far interested Platonism and ideas similar to reincarnation to be taken as a Church Father. He was excommunicated by the Church but his work continues to interest scholars. And sort of slipping in the back door, as it were, Origen’s writings are often included in compilations under the heading, “Church Fathers.”
The Patristics wrote up to the 8th-century, to include Isidore of Seville (7th-century) and John of Damascus (8th- century).
Feminists point out that there are no Church Mothers, perhaps because of the sexist environment of the early Christian era. This type of discrimination persists through the ages and, so they say, remains in many contemporary religious and secular organizations.
¹ Tertullian also demonstrates that the Church Fathers could be quite harsh against their opponents, in this case, the early Gnostics. As the British philosopher of religion, John Hick, points out in Evil and the God of Love, Tertullian wrote scathing attacks against the Gnostics.
- Reading the Fathers: Clement of Rome (simuliustusetpeccator.com)
- Women priests and the Church censure of Father Bill Brennan (peaceandbread.com)
- History of Philosophy and the Early Church (patristicsandphilosophy.wordpress.com)
- Read the Fathers: Polycarp of Smyrna (simuliustusetpeccator.com)
- Why Urban Christians Need Wendell Berry (christianitytoday.com)
- real prayer is inner prayer… (thehandmaid.wordpress.com)
- Reading the Fathers: Epistle To Diognetus (simuliustusetpeccator.com)
- Guides to the Early Church Fathers (insightscoop.typepad.com)
- Abortion & Reincarnation (pathwaytoascension.wordpress.com)
- History of purgatory (divinelightblog.wordpress.com)
Christianity is the religion based on the life, teachings, moral example, crucifixion and resurrection of the New Testament figure, Jesus Christ. Jesus was the son of a young Jewish woman, Mary, who conceived while engaged to her carpenter fiance, Joseph. The Jesus story tells us that Mary didn’t have sexual relations with Joseph but, instead, was visited by the angel Gabriel who told her that she’d become pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit—a calling which Mary willingly accepted. So technically, Joseph was Jesus’ foster father.
Founded in Jerusalem, the Christian religion emerged from the Jewish scriptural tradition, which Christians today call the Old Testament. Jesus, in fact, is seen by his followers as the long awaited prophet promised in Jewish scriptures.
As with contemporary Christianity, Early Christianity was shaped by the Jesus story. But this isn’t all. There’s also the living grace which believers claim to experience. So rather than their religion being a dry routine based on some distant past event, believers say they can feel the Holy Spirit acting in their lives, here and now.¹
These two elements – the teachings and example of the earthly Christ along with the perceived guidance and indwelling love of the heavenly Christ – forged an unshakable belief in many of Christ’s early followers.
Some early Christians believed that Christ’s promised return – signalling the end of the world – was imminent. In one letter St. Paul chastises believers for not working due to their misguided belief about the end-times occurring within their lifetimes (2 Thessalonians 3:10, Matthew 24:36, Mark 13:32).
The religion spread throughout the Mediterranean’s Gentile (non-Jewish) population for about 20 years after Christ’s death. It was declared an “illegal assembly” under Roman Law. And the tyrant Nero publicly blamed Christians for the great fire in Rome of 64 CE.
Cruel and barbaric persecutions at the hands of the pagan Romans followed but the religion continued to spread. While some Christians denied their belief in Christ when threatened with horrendous torture and death, a good number willingly – some even joyously – went to their deaths at the hands of the pagan Romans.
The graceful and heroic courage of Christians being fed alive to lions in the Colosseum at Rome impressed some of the more sensitive Romans, leading to their conversion to this new monotheistic religion. Conversions didn’t just take place among the poor, as commonly believed. By 96 CE the radical egalitarianism of Christianity became increasingly apparent as members of the Roman Imperial family also converted away from their pagan past. By the end of the 2nd-century, Christianity had spread into Britain.
Why was Christianity so successful?
Some sociologists suggest that the Christian message gave hope of eternal reward to the powerless and oppressed. In other words, it’s a religion for losers. But historians more correctly note that the religion cut across all class lines, fostered warm communal love and complete forgiveness for past wrongs, along with the promise of power over demons and everlasting life in heaven. Theologians add that the spiritual power of the living Christ has always been present among believers in the form of the Holy Spirit, giving life, love and direction to their religious worship.
In 313 CE Constantine issued an edict of toleration in Milan, enabling Christians to worship without fear of persecution. In 381 CE Theodosius made Christianity the official religion of the Roman empire.
Some Christian sects in early Christianity emphasized either Christ’s humanity at the expense of his Divinity, or conversely, his Divinity at the expense of his humanity. The Church took great pains to officially resolve these as “heresies.”
Christianity continued to expand through the Roman empire. When the Western empire fell in 476 CE, the barbarian invaders were converted.
During the so-called Dark Ages, the Papal court fell into disrepute. Several Popes become blatantly corrupt. Murder, intrigue and absurd rationalizations for grave evils abounded. The flame of Christianity, however, was kept alive in the European monasteries. Monks by and large were disgusted with the scandalous and violent practices of the Papal court.
In the East, Christianity continued as ‘Byzantium’ until overrun my Muslim invaders in 1453 CE.
The Orthodox Church had become split by the 11th-century. Apart from subtle theological differences, the Western Church recognized the Pope while the Eastern Church did not.
Several additional heresies were squelched by the Western Church but the 16th-century rise of the Reformers and the Counter-Reformation created a decisive split between Protestants and Roman Catholics.
Protestant Churches, themselves, began to splinter, with many new denominations rising up, usually at the bidding of some charismatic reformer claiming to rekindle the “original truth” of Christianity.
Despite doctrinal differences among various branches of Christianity in the 21st-century, almost all Christians believe in the doctrine of the Trinity. This is the belief that God reveals himself in three ‘persons’ of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These three distinct persons are said to be equal, eternal and also a unity, sharing the same substance.
Today Christianity is a world-wide religion of over 2.2 billion followers, largely the result of colonization and missionary work among various Christian denominations.
¹ Problems arise when different believers claim opposing ‘truths’ based on the apparent experience of the Holy Spirit. Quite possibly some individuals mistake a kind of vital, perhaps even biochemical, energy for the true love and peace of the Holy Spirit.
- History of purgatory (divinelightblog.wordpress.com)
- Can’t we just work together? (tolivelifetothefull.wordpress.com)
- A Long Oral Tradition: Step four in the development of early Christian faith (mikerivageseul.wordpress.com)
- Changing the Face of Christianity Reports on the State of Christianity Today (prweb.com)
- rants: a pagan or atheist at heart? (christiannoob.wordpress.com)
- Our Righteousness in Christ (missiontopapua.wordpress.com)
- This is Good News – A Devotion (lthomason.wordpress.com)
- What Happened to the Old-Fashion Religion? (5ptsalt.com)
- Christianity Is Not a Religion!!!! (encounterss.wordpress.com)
- The Uniqueness of Christianity: 12 Objections Answered (insightscoop.typepad.com)
In ancient Greek and Roman myth Cerberus is a giant three-headed dog and Lord of Death who guards the gates to and from the underworld. As such, he prevents those who’ve crossed the River Styx¹ from making a return journey.
Cerberus was captured and chained by Hercules and brought to a higher region as one of the latter’s Twelve Labors. And Orpheus managed to outwit Cerberus and escape the bonds of hell by soothing the wretched dog to sleep with the music of his lyre.
He is depicted on ancient Greek coins, cameos, vases, paintings and temple sculptures. And he figures prominently in classical Western literature. More recently, he appears as a character in video games.
¹ Styx is the boundary between the world of the living and the underworld (where souls are said to go in the afterlife). Sometimes ancient mourners placed a coin in the mouth of the deceased to pay the ferryman (named as Charon in the 6th century) who’d take the soul across the river. See The Oxford Classical Dictionary, 1999, p. 312, and Garland, Robert. “Underworld and Afterlife.” In The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome, Oxford University Press. (, n.d.). Retrieved 15 Nov. 2012, from http://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780195170726.001.0001/acref-9780195170726-e-1300
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Also known as the Dioscuri, the Greek Kastor and Polydeuces figure in classical myth. The Roman Castor and Pollux are believed to have intervened in the battle of Regillus in 484 BCE , and recent temple excavations support this claim.¹
As the twin sons of Leda, they are often honored among the pagan gods at Sparta and Rome,² and represented on horseback. As Zeus‘ child, Pollux was immortal and an outstanding boxer.
Castor was the offspring of Tyndareus, mortal and an excellent horseman. At Castor’s death, Pollux beseeched Zeus to grant Castor immortality as he could not bear the thought of separation.
Zeus transformed them both into the constellation Gemini (the Twins). They appear as St. Elmo’s Fire to aid seafarers, and appeared in the New Testament as the image on a grain ship that carried Paul from Malta to Puteoli ³ (Acts 28:11).
And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux.4
¹ Oxford Classical Dictionary, 1999, p. 303.
² Maas, Georgia S.. “Castor and Pollux.” Oxford Reference. Oxford University Press. . n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2012. http://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780195170726.001.0001/acref-9780195170726-e-217.
³ Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, 1987, p. 1024.
- Moon, twin stars, two planets greet early morning risers (earthsky.org)
- Castor and Pollux (themirrorobscura.com)
- Castor and Pollux at ENO (intermezzo.typepad.com)
- At last – massive online discounts for ENO Castor & Pollux (intermezzo.typepad.com)